By Sarah Helm
From an award-winning journalist comes this real-life cloak-and-dagger story of Vera Atkins, considered one of Britain’s most effective mystery brokers in the course of global struggle II.
As the top of the French portion of the British precise Operations govt, Vera Atkins recruited, proficient, and mentored designated operatives whose activity was once to prepare and arm the resistance in Nazi-occupied France. After the struggle, Atkins courageously devoted herself to a deadly look for twelve of her such a lot loved ladies spies who had long gone lacking in motion. Drawing on formerly unavailable assets, Sarah Helm chronicles Atkins’s outstanding lifestyles and her singular trip in the course of the chaos of post-war Europe. Brimming with intrigue, heroics, honor, and the horrors of struggle, A lifestyles in Secrets is the tale of a grand, elusive girl and a travel de strength of investigative journalism.
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Extra resources for A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of WWII
She knew of their financial circumstances as well and could offer cash advances on request up to a limited amount each month. All this was very reassuring, because until they met Miss Atkins many of these men and women had felt somewhat disoriented by the experience of “special employment,” as their new work was called. Some of the women had, just days earlier, been mopping floors at Royal Air Force (RAF) stations. Many recruits were civilians, spotted by SOE scouts, while some had just escaped across the Channel from France and had never been to England before.
A distinguished-looking man was having difficulty controlling his horse, and close to him was Vera, with bobbed hair and riding jacket, clearly in control of her mount. I turned the picture to find a date, 1932, and a list of names, including “Count Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg. German Ambassador to Bucharest and negotiator of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. ” The more I pulled out files and envelopes, the more snipped letters or parts of papers or unidentified photographs would fall out. Books had notes or cuttings tucked in them.
After a while—when she had made her judgement of me—she ceased to look at me at all and gazed straight in front, or over my head, through the window behind me and over the rooftops of Winchelsea. I hadn't come to interview Vera about her own life but found myself doing so from the beginning. She didn't tell me much. She never told anybody much. She said before the war she had been living with her mother in Chelsea, when, in February 1941, an “anodyne little letter” had arrived out of the blue asking her for an interview at the War Office.